Decision support and strategic project management in the UK upstream oil and gas sector
Strategic projects form the core of corporate growth, change and wealth creation, which enable a firm to achieve and sustain long-term success. However, a traditional engineering perspective on project management still seems to dominate. In general terms, manages are fully aware of some traditional techniques, such as NPV, but these can undervalue a strategic project. They occasionally apply techniques for controlling projects, and often lack a practical understanding of recently developed techniques. The purpose of these recently developed techniques is to create a project's value from the outset, and to drive a firm to superior performance and aspiration. The current research project aims to explore the role of techniques in facilitating successful strategic project management, and the elements involved in it, as applied to the UK upstream oil and gas sector. At first, the existing literature on successful strategic project management is reviewed, with major emphasis given to the techniques applied to managing projects. The proposed methodology follows a triangular approach. First, exploratory interviews essentially describe fifty multidisciplinary elements involved in strategic project management. Second, an exploratory deskwork explores the extent to which techniques address, in theory, these elements. Third, a main survey describes the elements managers pay considerable attention to, searches for the elements that are believed to explain a strategic project's success and identifies the techniques that often address each element in practice. Finally, follow-up interviews validate some questionnaire findings. As a result, sets of techniques for successful strategic project management are proposed, and validated through assessment sheets. The present study represents an embryo for future investigation in the project management field. First, it explores the gap between elements that are believed to explain a project's success and those that managers pay most attention to in managing strategic projects. Finally, it suggests that the convergence of financial, environmental (green) and internal business issues might be a healthy route for the UK upstream oil and gas sector towards successful strategic project management.